It’s a Decadent Springtime Feast: Fried Baby Artichokes With DIY Meyer Lemon Mayonnaise

Fried Baby Artichokes with Homemade Meyer Lemon Mayo (Wendy Goodfriend)

Crispy, crunchy, earthy, tender baby artichokes are taken to a whole new level when shallow fried and served with cool, creamy Meyer lemon mayo alongside.

I’ve always loved artichokes, any which way. Whether steamed and served with a bowl of lemon-butter for dipping, baked with crisp breadcrumbs and bacon, or Roman-style: whole artichokes fried without batter. These little nuggets, though, are truly special (and truly decadent).

When springtime rolls around, you can be sure that there are mounds of fresh baby artichokes lining the stalls of Bay Area farmers’ markets. There are plenty of ways to use them, but why not dust them with a little seasoned flour, shallow fry them, and then serve them on a platter to your best-loved friends and family with a bowl full of fresh Meyer lemon mayo alongside?

Don’t be put off by making your own mayonnaise either. It really couldn’t be simpler! Just throw all the ingredients except the oil into your food processor and whiz them together, then pour the oil through the feed tube plunger; it should have a tiny little hole in the bottom which is perfect for drizzling a slow, steady, tiny stream of oil into the mixture while the processor is running.

You can also easily make this gluten-free by swapping out the wheat flour for rice flour.

Start with whole baby artichokes.
Start with whole baby artichokes. (Wendy Goodfriend)

Recipe: Fried Baby Artichokes with Homemade Meyer Lemon Mayo

Makes 4 to 6 servings

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Ingredients:

Meyer Lemon Mayo:

  • 1 egg yolk*
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • juice of 1–2 Meyer lemons
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 2/3 cup canola oil

Fried Artichokes:

  • 12–16 baby artichokes
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • Canola oil, for frying
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 tsp paprika

Instructions:

    1. To make the mayo, in a food processor, add the egg yolk*, mustard, salt, the juice of 1 lemon. Turn the processor on and pour about half of the oil into the plunger in the feed tube. The tiny hole at the bottom of the plunger will dribble the oil into the bowl of the processor, allowing the mayo to emulsify. When the oil level in the plunger gets low, pour in the remaining oil. Add enough lemon juice to thin the mayo as needed. Scrape into a serving bowl. Refrigerate, covered, until ready to use or for up to 4 days.

    1. Snap off the tough exterior leaves from the artichokes. Cut off the top third of the artichokes and trim the stems. Cut the artichokes in half lengthwise (or quarters if they are a bit big). Put them in a shallow bowl and add the buttermilk. Stir to coat and set aside for 10 minutes.

    1. Meanwhile, in a shallow bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, pepper, and paprika.
    2. In a large, wide frying pan, add 1/2 inch of oil and heat to 325°F.
    3. Remove the artichokes, one by one, letting the buttermilk drip off, then toss in the flour mixture to coat.
    4. Fry the artichokes in the hot oil in batches until browned, crisp and tender, turning occasionally, about 8 minutes. Drain on paper towels and season with salt.

    1. Serve right away with the mayo on the side.
Serve the fried artichokes right away with the Meyer lemon mayo on the side.
Serve the fried artichokes right away with the Meyer lemon mayo on the side. (Wendy Goodfriend)

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(*Please note that the mayo does use a raw egg yolk, so be aware of that for anyone with a compromised immune system or special dietary needs.)

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